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Showing posts from 2015

Thanks to Galen Erickson, Master Naturalist Volunteer, for Capstone Video

The Minnesota Master Naturalist program is and exciting way to learn about nature through a 40-hour course. Master Naturalist is for adults wanting to expand their horizons about the natural wonders in Minnesota's major biomes. After completing a course, they join thousands of others across Minnesota to volunteer in parks, nature centers and after school programs. Master Naturalists return thousands of hours of volunteer service annually to conserve Minnesota's natural resources. 

Galen Erickson is a Master Naturalist Volunteer from Minnesota from Plymouth, MN, who completed a video for the Master Naturalist program as his course capstone project. Galen runs New Horizon Productions INC., a company that produces short professional videos for Fortune 500 companies and Nonprofits. 

Driven to Discover Project Inspires Ecuadorians

Citizen engagement in scientific research is a hot topic among academics at the Universidad de Cuenca in Cuenca, Ecuador. FWCE Educator Andrea Lorek Strauss fanned the flame with a presentation about the Driven to Discover (D2D) project on a recent visit there.
Conservation biologists, anthropologists and geographers recently participated in a three-day seminar on Citizen Science and the potential for involving communities in gathering data relevant to their lives, including crowdsourcing of traffic patterns to aid biking and public transportation usage. Strauss, on a personal visit to the country last week, connected with University scholars in civic engagement and offered to share her expertise in training volunteers to engage youth in contributing citizen science data and pursuing independent scientific investigations. 
The research and evaluations on from the D2D project provided useful insight for the discussion. Science education in Ecuador is heavily lecture based at all level…

4 questions with Andrea Lorek Strauss

When it comes to addressing controversial issues in Extension teaching, you’ve recommended to “teach the questions.” What does that mean? 
“Teaching the questions” means helping audience members to think about an issue at a bigger picture level. I view Extension as playing a critical role helping our citizenry understand the larger societal and scientific questions that a controversy raises. We are in a unique position not only to share factual information about a situation, but also to help people recognize when larger questions are at play, such as “What is nature for?” “Who gets to make decisions?” “What is the appropriate role for government?”

The conflict of the moment may be about a current situation or problem, but differences of opinion are often rooted in differing value systems, differing world views. When we disagree about buffer strips, we’re really disagreeing about larger questions like “Who makes decisions about land use?” “Who should pay the price for clean water?” “W…

Minnesota Master Naturalist sponsors National Public Lands Day Sites across Minnesota

On September 26, 2015, The Minnesota Master Naturalist Program made a concentrated effort to get as many volunteers out as possible to provide conservation service on MN public lands.  Staff worked with 13 sites across the state to host 319 volunteers who provided 1,677 hours of volunteer service for a value of $41,639.91.  What an incredible impact! Projects included, bud capping at Itasca State Park, Park Rapids and at Boulder Lake Environmental Learning Center, Duluth.  Volunteers staple small pieces of paper over the small tasty tops of the newly planted white and red pines to protect them from hungry deer over the winter.  Over 26,000 trees were fitted with their bud caps! The Rochester area had volunteers doing native seed collection and invasive species removal.   It was a great day of service for the state of Minnesota.  For more information about the Minnesota Master Naturalist Program and upcoming classes check our web page at www.MinnesotaMasterNaturalist.org. Other activiti…

Monarch Citizen Science Project on PBS show SciGirls

The third season of the hit PBS show SciGirls is focusing entirely on citizen science. The show, which encourages girls to become involved in science and engineering, will begin airing its latest season this month. One entire episode will depict girls participating in the Monarch Larva Monitoring Project, which is led by Extension faculty, Karen Oberhauser. You can view a preview of the season here, and check your local listings to find out when the show airs on your local PBS station.

Minnesota Master Naturalist is EXCITED to welcome Sam Ham to Minnesota for an environmental interpretation presentation

The Minnesota Master Naturalist program will welcome Dr. Sam Ham to Minnesota for a environmental interpretation presentations on July 21-22, 2015 in Mankato MN.

In two-hour keynote address on July 21, Dr. Ham will draw on recent advances in communication research to pose some questions about the "endgame" of interpretation--when is interpretation "successful?", what does professional "excellence" in interpretation look like?, and how would you recognize it? Interpreters who want their work to make a difference have a great advantage when they can envision the pathways through which making their difference can plausibly happen. And seeing these pathways is far easier when you have a clear sense of interpretation's endgame.

In a July 22 workshop, open only to Master Naturalist Instructors, Dr. Ham will lead participants through a series of practical exercises that they can use to train others in thematic interpretation. These exercises will emphasize how…